Record Label: Nuclear Blast
Hailing out of Sweden, Watain is a band that needs no introduction. Formed back in 1998 and spreading Black Metal chaos ever since. Eric is the driving force behind the band’s Satanic lust and with a roster of talented artists, they have presented us time and time again with monumental records. This time they rise from the abyss with their latest creation “The Agony and Ecstasy of Watain” released earlier this year. With this record, Watain engulfs us in the mystic aura of Black metal. Maintaining their furiousness from the previous album and blending in seamlessly some mid-paced songs with captivating atmosphere. An album that bears the mark of every Black metal era and also shines a light on one of the genre’s most overlooked aspects, being guitar solos.
Blazing guitar riffs and a drumming assault signal the beginning of “Ecstasies in Night Infinite”. Eric’s chaotic vocals soon join the instrumental cataclysm in trademark Watain fashion. “The Howling” crushes in as the natural successor, with the furious attitude carrying on. Tremolo-picked riffs create a stream of fire for Eric’s aggressive vocals to tear everything apart. “Serimosa”, being one of my favourites”, is a track full of atmosphere and character.
Moving in a mid-paced pattern, filled with dark melodies and a menacing mental aura. “Black Cunt” follows a mid-paced rhythm with a dark grooviness, while “Leper’s Grace” is a punch in the face right back to the first two tracks. “Not Sun nor Man nor God” is a small instrumental interlude that leads us to the dramatic “Before the Cataclysm”. The song is a path shrouded in mysteries, getting darker at every turn with new surprises unfolding constantly. Moving on is one of Watain’s most captivating results to date. “We Remain” opens up with the haunting voice of Farida Lemouchi from Devil’s Blood. Sister of the late Selim Lemouchi, this song creates a range of emotions and meanings. The full ability of the band is showcased in this piece of Black metal art for the ages. “Funeral Winter” enforces Watain’s reality on this world, burning everything in its path, while “Septentrion” is a traditional Black metal finale.
Watain gives flesh and blood to their principles, as they manage once again to develop and evolve. Their musical brilliance and composition talent is unrivaled. Their thick atmospheres and Satanic mystagogue, detach spirit and soul from this world. With spot-on result production, they bring forth a refined result, with many planes to discover. All the songs have something to offer to the bulk of the album, while the chaotically organic changes of pace create interesting contrasts. The band grew their cult even more and manifest it on top of the Black metal world. A musical as well as a mental journey for everyone that listens to it. An early candidate for album of the year.